Bahrain remains mired in a political stalemate with little serious progress toward reconciliation and reform, but few signs of a return to the acute instability of 2011. The National Dialogue established in 2011 has stalled, society remains polarized, and some prominent members of the Shia political opposition have turned to boycotting the political process. The Bahraini leadership enjoys full backing from Saudi Arabia, which views the island kingdom as a vital bulwark against Iran, and continues to host the U.S. Navy, which has meant Washington’s criticism of the government’s crackdown and human rights abuses has been muted. 

But opposition protests and the police crackdown continue with little end in sight. 

Four experts on Bahrain weigh in on the country’s situation and the role outside powers can play in encouraging compromise and reform. Each offers a different perspective on why reconciliation has been elusive and whether it will remain so.

Please join the discussion by sharing your own views in the comments section.